Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. confirmed to Reuters this week that they had been contacted by the Florida's attorney general (AG) for information regarding a chicken price-fixing probe primarily related to the Georgia Dock pricing tool. After coming under scrutiny last year, the Georgia Department of Agriculture sought to overhaul the pricing tool but ultimately terminated it after the agency was unable to receive necessary data from the chicken companies that had previously participated.
Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told the news outlet that Florida AG Pam Bondi's office opened the investigation after civil lawsuits were filed last year in federal court. The lawsuits alleged that Tyson and other chicken processors conspired to fix prices.
Tyson said Bondi's office had requested information from the company through a "civil investigative demand."
"We continue to believe the antitrust claims that prompted the Florida AG to open this investigation are without merit, but we are cooperating with the Florida AG’s investigation," Mickelson said.
Pilgrim's Pride spokesperson Cameron Bruett confirmed to Reuters that the company had also received "an inquiry from Florida AG, similar to other chicken companies.”
Reuters reported that Sanderson Farms Inc. has also been contacted for information relating to the index.
"It’s not uncommon to see state AGs investigate antitrust allegations made in civil cases that seek to collect damages on behalf of consumers within their states," Mickelson noted.